November 2015

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American Icon!
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Photo 1: “Sinatra An American Icon’s” recreation of Capitol Studios on view at the Grammy Museum now, Photo 2: Sinatra’s Jukebox let’s visitors play his songs and interact with the exhibit, Photo 3: Recreation of Sinatra’s Art Studio with some of his art, Photo 4: Sinatra’s onstage tuxedo, hat and his Grammys (Photos: Maury Phillips/

American Icon!

  • By Keith Valcourt
  • Photos By Maury Phillips/

There was only one Frank Sinatra. Woman wanted him.  Men wanted to be him.  He was the epitome of cool.  He did it all. Singer. Actor. Entertainer. American Icon.

Born to humble beginnings in Hoboken, New Jersey on December 12th, 1915.  Francis Albert Sinatra almost didn’t make it into this world. Upon his arrival he was considered stillborn.  A quick thinking nurse thrust him under cold water bringing the first sounds of that voice out of him. A voice that would carry him from obscurity to “Boy Singer” for both bandleaders Harry James and Tommy Dorsey to international fame as the greatest interpreter of American song ever.

If he were still with us, Mr. Frank Sinatra would have turned 100 years old on this upcoming December the 12th.  To mark this momentous occasion, many places around Los Angeles are gearing with tributes and celebrations.  The one you don’t want to miss is now taking place now through February at the Grammy Museum.  Sinatra: An American Icon pays tribute to the man and his music.

I had the chance to take my family there recently and explore all the Grammy Museum had to offer including the many layered look at the life and career of the man they called “Ol’ Blue Eyes.”  The impressive exhibit, which takes up most of the second floor, features hundreds of fantastic Sinatra related artifacts.  Many of them from the Sinatra Family’s personal archives, including: posters, clothing, microphones, paintings, gold records and two academy awards (for House I Live In and From Here To Eternity.) Plus memorabilia, notes and a couple of his Grammys (Frank won 13 in his eighty-two years on earth.)

The highlights for me were the cool life size replicas sets of key moments from his life, including the Hoboken subway car he most likely rode as a kid, and a cool recreation of the famous Capitol Record Recording studios where the man made musical magic. That one comes complete with recorded in between takes banter of the man himself and the orchestra.  Giving fans an intimate inside view into Sinatra’s recording process at the height of his powers.

There is also a nook dedicated to Sinatra’s late in life passion: Painting. It features several of his brightly colored creations and his original workbench alongside photos of an older Sinatra with his grand kids. It is a very poignant portrait of the singer in “The September of his years.”

If Sinatra isn’t your thing, don’t worry, The Grammy Museum offers four floors with dozens of interactive exhibits on everyone from Tupac Shakur to comic genius George Carlin to sitar master Ravi Shankar to the greatest girl group ever: The Supremes. They even have an exhibit of memorabilia from “The King Of Pop: Michael Jackson. My thirteen and seven year old kids really enjoyed the touch screen technology that allowed them to watch video clips and listen to music from a variety or decades and genres. And the whole family rocked out in the third floor “Roland Live” exhibit which allowed us to get a hands on experience playing music on real live instruments. The Clive Davis Theater, which was running a classic Sinatra concert, has played host to a series of discussions and concerts from the biggest names in the business. Everyone from Bryan Adams to John Legend to Alice Cooper to Flavor Flav have graced the stage of this intimate 228 seat showroom. Very cool.

Tickets to this treasure trove of music history and knowledge are $12.95 for adults. $11.95 for seniors. And $10.95 for Youth (6-17 and Military personnel. Kids under 5 and under are free). The Grammy Museum is a fun way to spend a couple hours (more, if you have the time!) learning about the history of music. Check it out!

Sinatra: An American Icon” runs through February 15th at the Grammy Museum. The Grammy Museum is located at 800 West Olympic Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles. Call 213-765-6800 for more information.

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